The goal may seem simple, but it isn’t. Reducing it to a ball entering an arc is too much of a simplification: There is a lot of work behind this phenomenon. Miguel Angel Borgia bears witness to that logic: the double that Students scored was the result of an intimate effort that served as the backdrop for the hermetic River Camp, and only a few have seen that. Amongst them, Marcelo Gallardodecisive in this gradual progress of the Colombian.
October’s Borja is not the same as the one that arrived in July in exchange for US$8.6 million for all concepts. His first 87 days with River were not easy for him. He felt the impact from the start. And not just because of the temperature differences between the hot summer in Barranquilla and the cold winter in Buenos Aires.
The contrast between Barranquilla and Buenos Aires
Accustomed to another football paradigm like Colombia’s First A Category, where the game is played much slower than the professional competition newly arrived Michelangelo entered his house in Terralagos and thought only of rest. In football terms, he was left without legs after training. That’s where the first advice from the MG label came to him: ‘To succeed at this club you have to make an effort.
The Hummingbird understood the message and acted accordingly: he began to add to the specific work of each training session, staying after hours to continue with his physical but at the same time technical set-up, and exercise definition for 30 or 40 minutes.
However, Borja’s extra time in the camp also often includes regular visits to the confessional, Gallardo’s bunker at the heart of the Ezeiza training complex. El Muñeco usually calls Miguel ngel to his office to give him more specific concepts. Clues referring to the next game – how to move against a particular defender, which spaces to attack depending on the rival’s defense methodology – but also to the moves the Colombian is planning, which is asked to be much more involved and affected by the collective operation.
“Suddenly I feel weird outside the area, but the confidence I feel is paying off” Borja revealed after the 5-0 against Estudiantes and admitted one of Muñeco’s requests: that he leave his circle -or rectangle- of comfort to fight for possession outside the geographical boundaries of the area or else, turn around and work together so that it is another teammate who reaches the target position, implying a radical change in their game logic: accustomed to the fact that in Colombia the 9 ends the game, had to assimilate that in Argentina even a defender from the front can seem decisive.
With Gallardo as a tutor, Borja achieves what he may not have been able to develop due to inexperience in Palmeiras: in 2019 Luiz Felipe Scolari relegated him to the bench because I noticed that lack of collective synchronization by and for the team will play almost 40% less than in the previous two years.
Perhaps learning from the mistakes of the past, Michelangelo turned to the present. By taking advantage of another great opportunity in a top league in South America. And with a coach with whom he has built a special bond. El Colibrí appreciates MG’s sincerity, in addition to asking for it as reinforcements and insisting that a historic signing be made, the second most expensive of the cycle.
“Miguel told us to sweat in River,” he told ole her mother, Nicolasa, from her warm home in Tierralta. Borgia does it. He knows he won’t get his ABC1 version until 2023, but not before he’s through a necessary preseason to complete adapting to River’s demands and finally join a team that he has to provide with play so that that game eventually provides him with some kind of virtuous circle. Therein lies the secret.